By Alyson Kehn:
The Blue Devils track and field men and women packed up a bus and traveled to Steven’s Point, Wis., on Feb. 7 and 8 to compete in University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point’s indoor meet. This was the team’s fourth meet of the indoor season.
The men and women’s teams each scored in the top half, both placing fifth out of eleven teams. The meet had several conference schools competing in it as well, so it was a good test for the Blue Devils to see where they measure up compared to other schools they will be facing at the upcoming conference meet, which is one of the most important meets of the season.
When asked what goals the team is working towards, sophomore Emily Minniecheske said they are working on getting as many athletes as possible to qualify for conference. A certain height, distance, time or placing are all ways that an individual can qualify. Minniecheske’s favorite event is the high jump, and she is right in the running to qualify for conference this indoor season.
Along with the fifth place finish for both teams, there are many individual accomplishments from the meet that made the Blue Devils stand out against the crowd.
The multi-event group did especially well. Senior Zach Anderson won the heptathlon. He scored 5,132 points, which brings him to second place in NCAA Division III. Junior Meagan Ward broke the school record in the pentathlon, but senior Jessika Smith, surpassed Ward’s new record when she finished. Ward scored 3,524 points, and Smith made a new school record in her name with a score of 3,594. These two Blue Devil women finished first and second in the pentathlon.
After this great performance, Ward now ranks fifth nationally in NCAA Division III, and Smith ranks third.
UW–Stout has several outstanding freshmen women this year in the field event group: Carli Clifton got second place in the long jump, and Michelle Brandt earned second place in the For the men, junior Mitch Freund finished in second place in the 800 meter run and Austin Zett got third place in the weight throw event.
Currently, the team is working on preparing for the conference meet, raising their overall GPA and getting everyone healthy. Sophomore sprinter and hurdler Emma Sapiro commented that injuries are the biggest challenge the team is facing right now, but they are doing their best to overcome them by treating the injuries and doing proper recovery.
Congratulations to our Blue Devils for a successful meet in Steven’s Point! With several ranked athletes, a good team placement and the rest of the indoor and outdoor season ahead of them, the UW–Stout track team is something for the competition to keep their eyes on as they continue to shine this year.